Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: The Gift of Grace: Seldom Opened & Seldom Used

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Gift of Grace: Seldom Opened & Seldom Used

For centuries Christianity has been progressively reduced to a pie in the sky kind of idea with salvation being some kind of reward for being one of the good guys. Salvation is not a reward. Salvation is a gift given “by grace” and received “through faith.” Salvation is not a pie in the sky kind of thing either. Salvation is a present reality of a new existence “in Christ” that begins the moment a sinner receives God’s gift of grace “through faith.” Eternal life is much more than life that goes on forever and never ceases. Eternal life is a new kind of life lived in a new existence called “grace” that is part of a New Creation that begins the moment we repent, understand and believe the gospel, confess Jesus to be Jehovah, call on His Name to save us, and receive Him (the Christ-life) in the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. This new existence and New Creation moves the believer into a life of unlimited potential through the release of the creative power of God through us.

For the vast majority of professing Christians who are hoping for a pie in the sky reward for being good boys and girls, they will enter into eternity with a false hope only to discover they have been deceived by false teachers and have misplaced their faith in a “another gospel, which is not another.” That is a very sad reality to which every truly “born again” believer must try to correct by proclaiming the truth of the true Gospel that alone is the “power of God unto salvation.”

Those who are truly “born again” of the Spirit of God have received God’s gift of the New Creation “in Christ.” However, they too have been deceived into thinking that their salvation gift will not be opened unto them until after they die. Therefore, they presently possess a gift they have never opened. They have a new existence in a New Creation although they have never really lived in the intended supernatural spiritual dynamic of that new existence called grace. Until we understand the spiritual dynamic of our new existence “in Christ,” the gift of salvation, that is presently our possession, will remain unopened for all of our lifetimes. Because the gift remains unopened, our new lives “in Christ” will be wasted in fulfilling the purpose for which they are intended; i.e., to win souls and make disciples in order to bring glory to God through the fruit of His Spirit.

1 Therefore being {lit., having been} justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom {Jesus Christ as our theanthropic High Priest at the right hand of the Father seated upon the Mercy Seat in Heaven} also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:1-5).

Romans 5:1-5 gives us a look inside the gift of grace that we know as salvation. As we look inside the gift, we immediately see that there are many aspects that are ours that we would never realize unless we actually open the gift. Like the child that finds a bicycle on his birthday with a big bow on it, he is not excited about just having the bicycle. He is excited about what he will be able to do with the bicycle once he takes off the bow. Most truly “born again” Christians never get excited about their salvation because they have never opened the package to see what is theirs and never study the Scriptures to find out what they can actually do with the gift that is given to them in this New Creation. Notice five gifts within the gift of salvation (uniquely the number 5 is the number of grace).

1.having been justified by faith

2. “we have peace with God”

3. “we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand”

4. “we glory in tribulations also”

5. “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us”

From these five gifts within the gift of salvation, the Apostle Paul begins to open each of these gifts going through the rest of the Epistle to the Romans. As the next 11 chapters of Romans unfold, we find gifts of grace within gifts of grace within gifts of grace. This is also true of Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians.

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us {the Church corporately as a new priesthood} in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us {the Church corporately as a new priesthood} unto the adoption of children {placement as adult sons positionally} by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein {in His grace} he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” (Ephesians 1:1-7).

God’s new priests are to be spiritual people. A spiritual person is a person filled with the Spirit of God and overflowing with the Christ-life because he is living in a right relationship with Christ (“abiding,” John 15:1-8). A person filled with the Spirit of God is a NORMAL Christian. Every Christian that is saved and not filled with the Spirit of God is an ABNORMAL or carnal Christian. Therefore, a fruitless Christian is an abnormal Christian who is not sanctified to the degree God intends him to be and not consecrated to the degree God intends him to be. It is not enough to merely control the externals, a person must be filled with the Spirit AND begin to live the Christ-life DOING what Christ commands.

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship {in the New Creation of being “born again” and continuing in the supernatural enabling of the grace of God through the indwelling Holy Spirit}, created {referring to the new man that comes forth from the New Creation} in Christ Jesus unto {supernaturally enabled doing} good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them {these supernaturally enabled works of righteousness}” (Ephesians 2:4-10).

All the verbs in Ephesians verse 5 (“hath quickened,” “hath raised,” and “made us sit together”) are in the Aorist Tense, signifying something completed in the past with continuing results. These continuing results are the present and ongoing realities that are supposed to be part of the normal Spirit filled believer’s new life “in Christ.” The outcome of this supernaturally created new life in Christ is an ongoing work of creation through the Spirit filled believer in producing the fruit of “good works.” These “good works” manifest the Christ-life in the “fruit of the Spirit” and “the work of the ministry.” Again, this defines NORMAL Christianity. Anything less than this is ABNORMAL and is carnal Christianity. Paul then expands upon this context into what he says in Ephesians chapters 3 through 6. If you miss this context, you will miss the whole purpose of the next four chapters of the epistle to the Ephesians regarding the ministry of the Church and the New Priesthood of Christ. Paul uses himself as the model of God’s intent for all believer-priests in the New Covenant

1 For this cause {because we, the Church, “are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit,” Eph. 2:22} I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery {the New Creation and the supernatural enabling of the indwelling Holy Spirit}; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs {with the saved of true Israel}, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: 12 In whom {referring to the believer’s Spirit baptism into the “body of Christ” and “the regeneration”} we {all believers individually and corporately as the Church} have boldness and access {to God’s distribution center at His throne of grace; Heb. 4:16} with confidence by the faith {faithfulness or fidelity} of him {the resurrected/glorified theanthropic High Priest Who is Christ}. 13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory” (Ephesians 3:1-13).

If every believer truly lives in this new existence and spiritual dynamic that God calls “grace” (Rom. 5:2), why is it that we are not seeing the “fruit” that the early Church Age believers saw and that we see in various historical revivals of this spiritual dynamic throughout history. We do not see it because most local churches have accepted standards of holiness and separation from worldliness that are far below how the Word of God defines them. Most local churches do not see revival, and the “fruit” of that revival, because they are carnal to some degree and therefore defiled before God.

There are five commandments regarding the believer’s supernatural relationship with the Holy Spirit of God that are essential to the manifestation of the Christ-life through a believer’s life. If any one of these five commandments is broken regarding a believer’s relationship with the Holy Spirit in the least way, the believer is defiled before God and “fruit” to the glory of God cannot, and will not, be produced. Without the spiritual dynamic of the believer’s supernatural relationship with the Holy Spirit of God, “fellowship” (a working partnership in “the work of the ministry”) is never created, “abiding” (hypostatic unity) never takes place, and eternal spiritual “fruit” is never produced.

1. Be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18)

2. Grieve not the Spirit (Eph. 4:30)

3. Quench not the Spirit (I Thess. 5:19)

4. Walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16 & 25)

5. Be transformed/transfigured (Rom. 12:2)

It is through the supernatural dynamic of the believer’s yielding to the indwelling Spirit of God that these five commandments are fulfilled in the life of a believer. These five commandments are what defines walking “worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called” in Ephesians 4:1 and how a believers keeps “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” as discussed in Ephesians 4:2.

1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ” (Ephesians 4:1-7).

Undoubtedly the gift of salvation is the giving of the Holy Spirit of God (the “breath of life”). The giving of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God is the giving of the Christ-life (I John 5:11-12). As the believer comes to open this gift, we simply find gifts within gifts with gifts to an infinite, unimaginable, and unsearchable degree. This indwelling Holy Spirit gift is the unlimited resource of the “living water” that Christ spoke of to the Samaritan woman in John chapter 4.

9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:9-14).

Clearly this “gift of God” of the “living water” is referring to the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 7:38-39). Paul expands upon this “gift” in Romans chapter 5.

12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many {not all in that the “gift” “by grace” must be received “through faith”}. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:12-21).

The important aspect of the gift of God’s grace both in salvation and in the “river of living water” that flows from the new man of the New Creation in Christ Jesus is that God does not want us to merely receive His free gift, or even that we might open that free gift and the many gifts within each gift. God wants us to, and expects us to, use each aspect of the gift He has given and we have received in the unlimited depth of its unsearchable riches.

7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. 8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging. 10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (I Peter 4:7-11).

Many times I have given a book I have written to someone as a gift. My intent in giving them the book was to try to help them with a spiritual issue in their life that they were struggling with. Many times I have visited some of those people only to find the book was never opened, let alone read. They continued in the same spiritual struggle they had before I gave them the book and will most probably continue in that struggle and its outcomes for the rest of their lives. It is not enough to open God’s Book. You will actually need to read it, study it, and learn its Truths. Yet, even reading the Book will not be enough. You will also have to begin to apply those Truths, live these Truths, and incorporate them into your everyday practices of life. Even all of this is not enough if we want to see God produce fruit through our lives. Before this doing to be spiritually effective, believers will need to live these truths through the supernatural enabling of the Holy Spirit (the filling of the Spirit).


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Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist.
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

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